Penn State Forum: Suzanne Paterno, Community Leader and Philanthropist

"Giving Back" Sue Paterno has not had a paying job since 1963. Yet despite leaving a teaching career to raise her family, she has not stopped working. A 1962 Arts & Letters graduate of Penn State, Sue has dedicated herself to her family, her University, and her community. At Penn State, Sue helped establish the Liberal Arts Alumni Society and the Summer Institute for Academic Achievement, a program that offers underrepresented students additional preparation for college-level work. She serves as a member of the University's National Development Council, chaired the Libraries Advisory Board, and was a volunteer for the Grand Destiny Campaign for both the College of the Liberal Arts and the University Libraries. In addition, she was the honorary co-chair of the Alumni Association's first-ever National Service Week, the largest community service effort ever undertaken by an alumni association. In 1995, the University recognized her service to Penn State by awarding her with the Lion's Paw; in 1996, she was named the Renaissance Woman of the Year and was named a Distinguished Alumna in 2004. She currently sits on the University's Leadership Gifts Committee, the National Council for Penn State Philanthropy, the Libraries Development Advisory Board, the Libraries and the Liberal Art Campaign Committees. Sue's commitment to public service extends beyond her alma mater. In 1989, she began working with the Pennsylvania Special Olympics, co-chairing the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the SOPA Summer Games and a SOPA Board member since 1991. She has served as honorary chair of the United Way Campaign and as honorary co-chair for its "Day of Caring" since its inception. In addition to her time, Sue has joined her husband Joe in committing their resources to the University. In 1998, they pledged $3.5 million to endow faculty positions and scholarships as well as to support two building projects - a new interfaith spiritual center and the All-Sports Hall of Fame. She and her husband have raised five children, all Penn State graduates, and they have fifteen grandchildren.